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Juniors dilemma - whether to penalise clubs

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Perhaps the biggest issue for the international spread of Australian Football is making the step from a small club to larger numbers and getting juniors into the game. Of course it's completely reasonable for an expat-Australian club to function purely at that level, but in many cases a decision is made to try to develop the game locally and leave a lasting legacy.

In some cases a club may morph into a league, or in areas with higher numbers of Aussies, several clubs may form and become a relatively stable league relatively quickly. Over time the question sometimes emerges of how much pressure the league can or should put on clubs to ensure local development occurs to ensure the continued growth of the sport. Classic examples of reasonably large, stable leagues are those based around London (England), Ontario (Canada) and Auckland (New Zealand). Each of those boast a good standard of footy and a solid mix of Aussies and locals. But over the years all three have had issues in getting their clubs to invest heavily in junior development. Here we have a look at one small example of the tough decision another sport made.

Lacrosse is very much a minority sport in Australia, much as Australian Football is in many other countries. Overall it's probably making better inroads into Australia than footy is in most other countries. A recent example of the strong measures taken by a league in Adelaide (South Australia) demonstrate the seriousness with which the sport's body is taking the game in this city.

Lacrosse SA regulations apparently require senior clubs to field two junior sides in the under 11, under 13 and under 15 competitions. The sting in the tail is that the seniors are awarded 4 points for each win they have, unless they don't meet the juniors requirement, in which case they only get 3 points. This strict criteria has been in place for several years but not strictly enforced until 2007 - with an immediate impact on one local club. East Torrens - Payneham thought they were into the finals until they realised the full repercussions of having only one junior side. They appealed to Lacrosse SA without success and are angry about the outcome, saying the penalty is an impost on the senior squad who are not to blame for the situation.

This may be true, and it demonstrates the dangers of such strict measures to force clubs to develop the game. It could easily lead to sides folding rather than put the additional efforts into finding juniors on top of the weekly trials of running the seniors. On the flipside it might be the only way to advance the sport. Clearly this is an issue that needs to be handled carefully by every league, but it seems lacrosse is doing something right Down Under. And the ruling isn't without precedent in Aussie Rules, with the North Coast AFL (in New South Wales) applying similar rules in the past. It will be interesting to see if such policies are ever introduced in other Australian Football leagues around the world.

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Juniors dilemma - whether to penalise clubs | 5 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
Juniors dilemma - whether to penalise clubs
Authored by: Wayne Kraska on Sunday, October 21 2007 @ 07:47 am ACST
Bit of a long bow to draw comparisons to say Lacrosse in Australia maybe when thinking of Aussie rules in the USA perhaps. I would get this feeling that here in the USA , footy is a foreign game, like in most countries around the world, but in Oz Lacrosse isnt a foreign game, just another sport to compete in. Hey I might be wrong but thats the first thing that came to mind. Its a mindset thing I know.

I agree leagues need to look very carefully at setting such rules as mentioned above, many clubs here have looked into the juniors here but simply see it as far beyond their resources. Most junior sport (90% at guess) is played through the schools in the USA, getting schools involved in playing some "crash-bang" sport they know nothing about is a huge hurdle. Added to this scenario is college scholarships are now increasingly available for alternative sports to the mainstream. And I only read the other month the sport most likely for your high schooler to get a scholarship for is.. "Lacrosse" due to the smaller participation rates and the greater chance your child can rise to the top of sport in their city. Soccer was up there I think as was volleyball.

Getting your child's tuition paid , even partially by a sports scholarship is a huge carrot here in the USA. HUGE.
Juniors dilemma - whether to penalise clubs
Authored by: Brett Northey on Monday, October 22 2007 @ 12:52 pm ACST

Not suggesting lacrosse in Australia and footy elsewhere are on a par by any means - footy is obviously far smaller in most cases, but some of the same principles may well apply, even in the US case. And yes, the US does offer its own unique challenges with the college scholarship system.

Where does the actual funding for US college scholarships come from? How do soccer and lacrosse manage to provide such scholarships? Did the sports become popular first, then the money flowed? Anyone understand how these things have developed?

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Brett Northey - Co-founder and Chief Editor of WFN

Juniors dilemma - whether to penalise clubs
Authored by: Christopher P. Adams, Ph.D. on Tuesday, October 23 2007 @ 09:13 pm ACST

College scholarships come from scholarship funds provided by Alumni. At Wisconsin even the Band got scholarships.

I'm optimistic that we will see a large growth in junior development over the next couple of years - particularly in the US. As guys who were at the start like myself get older with kids ready for footy, we have incentive to develop junior competitions.

I'm hoping that the 2008 USFooty Nationals will see a juniors tournament added to the list.

One point to note about the demand for scholarships is that footy actually may be have an advantage - with a whole continent of universities that may interested in US footy players.

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Carna Revos!

Juniors dilemma - whether to penalise clubs
Authored by: Cameron Lee on Monday, August 13 2012 @ 08:45 pm ACST

It would be great if the scholarship will push through

Juniors dilemma - whether to penalise clubs
Authored by: Jas on Thursday, August 16 2012 @ 07:19 am ACST

 Is this really 5 years between updates on this story? If Aussie Rules could get into the American University system, that'd guarantee its future in the states.  Here's hoping.